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Revising Project Dragon

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Today, (January 26th) I started the first revisions of Project Dragon –– my first completed first draft. Wow, okay. That’s a lot of firsts. *cue nervous laughter*

Aannndd I have no clue what to expect really? I think I have a pretty solid system right now, but we’ll see if that changes over the course of editing this draft, considering I’VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE. 

I started this blog for one reason: to talk about books. Reading and writing them. So, this blog is just as much for me as it is for you, my readers. This blog is going to serve as a journal of sorts as I go on this scary, wonderful, magical adventure of writing stories and hoping people will one day read them. 

Being the first draft of a novel I’ve ever completed, Project Dragon is very, very special to me. It’s also a flaming hot MESS. This project needs a lot of work before I can ever consider letting readers lay their eyeballs on it hahahahaha. So today, I set in to do that work the best I know how, with the help of authortube of course (lol!). 

I waited two months (close enough anyway.) I didn’t even so much as glance at it the entire time I waited either, and honestly I deserve a reward for that. Where’s my cookie? 

But I did think about this story and it’s characters during that obligatory wait. A lot. So much so that one morning I woke up with the perfect way to write the opening scene (it needed a lot of work, and this was an epiphany) and scrambled to get it down in my phone notes before I lost it. Maybe that counts as cheating, but I’m definitely not sorry for it hahahaha. 

But, in my defense, I did NOT look at my printed first draft nor have I looked at that opening scene in my notes since. 

Okay fine, maybe I have. ONCE. It was one time!!!

Anyway, you may have noticed I said printed first draft a second ago. I did. I printed out my entire first draft, at home, with the printer I got for my twentieth birthday to do just that. As a matter of fact, I’ve barely used it for anything else, which means I’ve barely touched it since I finished that draft back in December. 

I know there are a lot of writers who don’t print anything until later drafts, or until they’re ready for beta readers, or what have you. There are also a lot of writers who print the first draft to help them through that first round of edits, and that’s the route I chose to take. Plus, since I printed every chapter as I completed it, it helped to have a physical representation of what I’d accomplished and gave me motivation to finish the draft. Even during the moments I swore I hated it and it would never be a good book. (I’m sure there will be plenty more of those moments soon to come.)

So, now I have a physical version of my first draft (hole punched,  put in a floppy cover, one inch, three-ring binder with stupid sticker residue coating the front –– I hate stickers.) And for the first time in almost two months I took it out of its place on my desk shelf and opened it up. 

Armed with pens and color corresponding high-lighters, I created a color key on an index card, which I taped on the inside cover of the binder. A different color for every editing thing I thought I would need. (Plot, World-building, Character Arcs, Character Relationships and Conflicts, and Timeline).

And with all of that ready, and a pad of mini post-it notes added to the arsenal, along with a standard black ink ball point for general notes, criticisms, and edits, I began reading. 

I only worked through the first chapter (around thirteen pages) tonight, but that alone took almost an hour. There are many different ways to edit a book, and many different types of revision (that sounds like the same thing, but it’s not really, I promise). But for this second draft I wanted a complete rewrite. That means having to pay close attention to all five of those things I listed a moment ago, while also brainstorming plot lines, and then some. 

Needless to say, I felt a little overwhelmed hahahahah. But! I will not let that deter me. I think no matter how I approached this very first round of revisions (ever!) I would have felt overwhelmed. And I honestly and truly believe this second draft of Project Dragon needs and deserves a near complete rewrite. I feel the potential of this story and these characters in my bones, and I will do whatever I can to let it reach that potential. 

So, my plan is to work through my first draft, highlighting and taking notes as I go. And once I’m finished with the read through and I’ve gathered all my notes and brainstorms, I’ll begin the rewrite in Scrivener (the first draft was written with Google Docs, but I got Scrivener for Nano and fell in love with it hahaha.)

If at any point that plan changes I’ll be sure to write a post explaining how and why! 

And now that I’ve spent this entire post talking about Project Dragon, let me give a brief update on the status of Project Genie (my Nano project)! The first draft is still currently unfinished. Actually, I’m sorry to report that I’ve barely made any progress at all since I won nano with the 50k words. I had hoped to be at 75k words at the end of the month, and when I realized that wasn’t feasible I lowered it to just 60k. And I wasn’t even able to get the ten thousand words I needed to achieve that goal. But I am close, and the month still isn’t quite over, so you never know what could happen!

I hope to make a lot more progress with it next month –– at least twenty thousand additional words. I love the concept for this story, I’m just having a hard time finding the character’s voices and personalities haha. Which is strange, considering Project Dragon is the exact opposite. 

But anyway, that’s all for now! I’m tentatively setting a deadline to be finished with this read through of Project Dragon one month from today (So, Feb 26th). Hopefully I’ll be able to set a hard deadline once I get a better feel for my pace when it comes to these things. One thing I certainly don’t want to do is rush the process! 

Until next time! 


Published by Alivia Haven

Aspiring author, avid reader.

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